SC judge says ministers can’t do corruption if secretaries have spine




Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on Wednesday remarked that if a secretary of a ministry resists, his minister cannot dare to do anything illegal.

The senior judge of the Supreme Court (SC), who was also a member of the bench that disqualified Nawaz Sharif in Panama case, said this while hearing appeals against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) decision to reject post arrest bails of former Sindh information minister Sharjeel Memon and others.

Justice Khosa said that Pakistan ran perfectly fine as long as bright, experienced and courageous bureaucrats were serving the country.

Pakistan People Party (PPP) lawyer Latif Khosa appeared on behalf of Memon, who is among a number of people facing Rs5.76 billion corruption reference and argued the bail plea for two days.

The counsel claimed that his client was never involved in any corrupt activities and that he voluntarily returned Pakistan and was earlier granted a pre-arrest bail.

Iftikhar Gillani, counsel for former Sindh secretary information Zulfikar Ali Shallwani, referred to a recent statement of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal in his capacity as chairman of the Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances.

During a briefing to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights, NAB chairman had claimed that the former military ruler Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf secretly handed over 4,000 Pakistanis to other countries mainly to the United States in the wake of 9/11.

“We are waiting to see what happens after this accusation by NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal. A number of citizens of this country were unlawfully handed over to foreign governments. Would NAB take any action in this regard?” Gillani asked.

The counsel said he had serious reservations over NAB’s actions as it was nabbing only functionaries of the government. Justice Khosa, however, observed that the counsel should not refer to matters on which the court cannot comment since if it does that, it will become subject of talk shows in the evening.

Talking with reference to the case, Gilani argued that complaint of corruption was moved to NAB in June 6, 2013, but Shallwani joined the department in Sept 19, 2013, and there was not a single allegation of connivance in the corruption against his client. “The only allegation against my client is that he was member of the committee that sanctioned the advertisement campaign,” he added.

The counsel said Shallwani has been in jail since Oct 25, 2017, when his bail was rejected by the SHC, but not a single of the total 52 witnesses has completed his statements despite the fact that NAB laws ask for completing the trial in 30 days.

Justice Khosa remarked that it is not possible to conclude within 30 days trial of a person booked under the accountability laws.

The counsel also recalled how the Supreme Court had ordered to proceed against General Musharraf on a case when the former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Abdul Hameed Dogar was roped in the treason case but nothing happened.

“What are they doing with the competent people who join government service after intense competition? Is this the way you treat these people?” He said he had been to jail four times. “Leave aside the physical discomfort, the experience is very humiliating,” he said.

“No minister can have the courage to do anything wrong if the secretary of his department has a spine,” Justice Khosa observed

Faisal Siddiqi – counsel for Gulzar Ali, Salman Mansoor and Umer Shahzad who were members of the advertisement agency to which advertisement campaign was awarded – contended that the SHC had erroneously rejected the bail applications of his clients and he wants the case remanded back to SHC.